Being a fan and being objective are all too often mutually exclusive.
No matter how daunting the odds, the opponent, or the point spread, MY team is always going to find a way to win, because...well...it's MY team, dammit. We're better than you.
There's not been a Pittsburgh Steelers game over the last eight seasons that I could truly say I didn't think they'd win. Not a one. While they've been among the NFL's elite over that span, objectively, there's been several times where my belief was foolish.
Adding the element of optimism into those situations, and you've got the potential for outright delusion.
With the Arizona State football mere hours away, the expectations surrounding the Sun Devils' 2012 season are as different and varied as Tempe and Tucson.
There's a large segment of Sun Devil fans who, basking in the legitimately remarkable and justly earned optimism brought on by the work of Todd Graham, think that ASU is about to do something that most of the rest of the nation thinks is impossible.
In running House of Sparky and on Twitter, I've seen and talked to many fans who think an eight or nine-win season is nearly a given. They have taken the "Speaking Victory" mantra and run with it like Cameron Marshall through the USC defense. Good for them.
Others, feel that this is a young team with a new coach, new systems and new attitude that will experience significant growing pains in 2012. To them, six wins falls under the "best case scenario" banner. Right on.
Then there is Bo Moos.
That's a name very familiar to ASU fans. Over his five seasons in Tempe from 2007 through last season, Moos developed himself into a fine defensive tackle and a fan favorite. The chants of "MOOOOOOOOOOS" rang through Sun Devil Stadium every time he made a play.
Now, Moos is working for the new Pac-12 Network. In addition, he just started as a columnist for House of Sparky, and his first column was absolutely on the money when it comes to reconciling these disparate views.
In "The Importance of Managing Optimism", Moos provides a smart, insightful and pointed message to both ASU fans and the haters (we're looking at you, Pitt fan).
One of his points to the "outsiders":
Do not continue to doubt this team and their potential in 2012. But most importantly, don't ignore the fact that the new regime at ASU has a great chance to be successful. Players have bought in to the new ideology at Arizona State, which is incredibly essential to the growth of a recently revamped program.
Yet he tells the same fans who chanted his name:
Your beloved team is in the midst of a turnaround. You are tired of losing, and you want to win...now.
But here's the thing; sometimes, turnarounds take time.
As with most things in life, the real expectations for the Sun Devils are somewhere in the middle, as Moos illustrates.
ASU does have a lot in their favor, from a talented starting roster, a positive culture and a staff committed to building a long-term winner.
But that probably doesn't translate into ASU being a Pac-12 South contender this fall. In 2013 and 2014, on the other hand...
So while not everyone may agree that a 5-7 record can be considered a success, there is one consensus every member of Sun Devil Nation can agree upon.
We love that football season is here. Just manage those expectations appropriately.
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